Day 18: Forgive
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
“I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.” I used to say that. But, according to God’s way of love, that’s not really forgiveness. When God forgives, He forgets. He doesn’t hold us accountable for that sin anymore. I know this may be tough for you to read, but truly forgiving means forgetting.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Hebrews 8:12
The Greek word for “remember” in this verse means to remind, remember, or be mindful of something. God said he would not remember or be mindful of our sins anymore. Again, if God’s love works this way, then this is how we should be too.
Those people who have hurt you or offended you in some way—have they falsely accused you to the extent that you were found guilty of blasphemy or treason, whipped, and then hung on a cross? No? That’s what happened to Jesus, as you already know, and here’s what He had to say to the Father about them:
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34
Is that not amazing and humbling? I’m not even going to say any more about it. I’m just going to let that sit. You can read on when you’re ready.
When you forgive someone for something they’ve done to you, you don’t have to feel forgiving. If your flesh is still steaming mad, it doesn’t matter at all. You just take it to the Father, forgive, and let it go. The faster you deal with it, the better. Don’t give the devil anymore playtime. He will try to bring it back up, even decades later, but you just tell him, “No, devil, I’ve forgiven that.” This is where the "forgetting" part comes in. As time goes on, the memories of wrongdoings will fade. When they come up, it'll feel almost like it happened to someone else.
Another point for you to understand is that forgiveness doesn’t mean you must have a relationship with those people. You can have nothing but love in your heart for someone, but be forced to end the relationship in order to protect yourself and those in your care. There are people even now as I write that I have had to maintain a certain distance from. I’m not mad at them, I hold no ill will against them, and as a matter of fact, have nothing but love for them, but God directed me to stay away. So I do.
Lastly, Mark 11:25 says that you need to forgive so that your Father can forgive you. Don’t keep yourself from God’s best by refusing to forgive.
Read the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35.